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|Brisbane is a city made for beer lovers, where plenty of craft breweries have set up shop over the last decade. We love stopping for a good pint on our Small Bars of the Valley and Sundowners in the City tours. And because we are always out walking around, trying to decide where to take our tour guests, we’ve had the very tough job of trying many drinks around town. Here’s our top 5 places to enjoy a cold one this summer.|
Best for a night out: Felons Brewing Co
Looking for something refreshing that’s easy to drink, has some interesting history, and is paired with great views and burgers? Look no further than Felons Brewing Co. at Howard Smith Wharves. Established in the summer of 2018 (where they ran out of beer within the first couple of weeks of opening), Felons has four beers that are brewed in-house, each with the name of the four ‘Felons’ that discovered Brisbane across the top of each one. While we love their pale ale, there’s a cider to please even the pickiest of drinkers, and their lager is always a crowd pleaser. You really can’t go wrong with whichever you choose!
Best for local lore: Sea Legs Brewery
Just across the river, in Kangaroo Point, you can find a nautical joint located next to the Story Bridge on Main Street. Sea Legs Brewery is one of the newer breweries in Brisbane, but the five co-owners have been drinking and brewing beer for years, finally making the leap and opening Sea Legs. The brewery’s name is a nod to Brisbane’s nautical history (and apparently one of the owner’s signature strut after he’s had a few). Each of their five brews are tied to a local historical event, like our current favourite the West Coast–style Breakaway IPA, which honours Captain Phillip Gibson, an unexpected hero who prevented a breakaway ship from damming the river in the 1970s.
Best for a light brew: XXXX Gold
If you don’t know what a Milton Mango is, are you even from Brisbane? Sure, we know that XXXX Gold beer is a mainstream classic here, but for good reason. The award-winning lager is proudly brewed in Brisbane’s very own suburb of Milton. With its signature yellow can and smooth flavour, it is the beer you choose when you really want to feel like a Queenslander.
Best for a biscuit ale: Soap Box Beer
Are you after something just as patriotic, but not quite as mainstream as our Milton Mangos? Support one of our homegrown craft breweries, Soapbox Beer. Located on the fringe of Fortitude Valley, they brew all of the beers and ciders in house (and you can catch a glimpse of the action behind the seating area of their spacious brewery). One of our particular favourites of theirs is their Biscuit Ale, which they’ve created to taste exactly like an Iced VoVo (a classic Australian biscuit!)
Best for IPAs: Green Beacon Brewing Company
And finally, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Green Beacon Brewing Company. The local brewhouse has been lighting the way for craft beer in Brisbane for almost a decade. Back in 2013, Adrian Slaughter and Marc Chrismas started making beer out of Teneriffe, and today you’ll find Green Beacon on tap at any good pub or bar around Brisbane. You can’t go past their subtly sweet Windjammer IPA, but if you’re after something a little more malty, the Anchor Amber Ale is the way to go.
‘We should all care about the places we live in. If I keep them [his art] looking nice, this will set the tone of the area and reflect out to everyone who sees them.’ So believes the Blu Art Xinja, a street artist who has called Brisbane home for more than 20 years.
While most of us will never know the person, you probably recognise his art: Playful blue figures such as animals and botanicals — among other shapes — in our laneways, on our buildings, and up in our trees, just to name a few places.
At Walk Brisbane, we love spotting Blu Art Xinja’s whimsical contributions on our tours, so we asked him to sit down and tell us a bit more about his process, places he loves around our city, and more.
About Blu Art Xinja: His process and inspiration
Walk Brisbane: What inspired your persona as Blu Art Xinja?
Blu Art Xinja: I wanted to go to art exhibitions and not be recognised in photos, so the costume was a fun way to do that and not be linked to any potentially illegal art…quite a concern for many street artists. On that issue, I have learnt to balance where to put my art so that it suits the area and is not considered ‘unsightly graffiti’.
WB: What was the first piece of Blu Art you did, and where was it located?
Blu Art Xinja: The first piece I ever put up was at the end of Logan Road, near the Gabba in January 2012. I have since replaced it and updated the design.
WB: We’ve noticed on your social media that you’ve been restoring some of your older pieces. What does that entail for you?
Blu Art Xinja: I keep templates of all my pieces, so I construct a copy of the artwork from that using more durable materials. Then it’s just a matter of removing the old piece and replacing it when there’s no one about, usually at night. That way the new piece ‘appears’ in the morning for anyone to see.
WB: What are some newly replaced pieces that people can go see, and where?
Blu Art Xinja: The Bonsai [Tree] at the South Brisbane end of the Go Between Bridge is brand new. The DragonDog at the QUT end of the Goodwill Bridge was rebuilt last year, but is now relocated on a tree branch around the corner (at the walkway leading to the Botanic Gardens). The tree it used to live in fell down. The Spirit Quoll at Bunyappa Park in West End has been given a facelift, and should last many years now.
WB: What materials do you use to create your art?
Blu Art Xinja: Nowadays each piece is usually cut out from thin marine ply and coated with outdoor paint to withstand the elements. Early on in my endeavours it was with whatever thin wood I could find.
WB: What inspires you to create art?
Blu Art Xinja: Ideas can come from anywhere, but quite often if I see a nice location for some art it will be something that fits or pertains to that particular spot. For instance, the Business/City Cats near the Citycat ferry terminal were made because of the play on words.
What Blu Art Xinja Loves About Brisbane
WB: What’s a local favourite of yours?
Blu Art Xinja: The Botanic Gardens and Roma St Parklands. Also, any of the big trees in and around the city…they’ve seen a lot of history.
WB: What do you love about Brisbane?
Blu Art Xinja: It really IS a very liveable place. I have been here for over twenty years, so I’m very comfortable in adding art to various places I think needs it, because it’s my home. Also, great weather.
Surprising Facts About Blu Art Xinja
WB: What are some more personal things people can know about you?
Blu Art Xinja: I have lost all fear of heights due to climbing extremely tall things. My second favourite colour is lime green.
WB: Where else, outside of Brisbane, does Blu Art exist?
Blu Art Xinja: Whenever I travel, I usually bring a piece or two to put up. There are plenty in Australia: Melbourne, Sydney, Noosa, Maroochydore, Byron Bay. There’s artwork in Auckland & Wellington in NZ, and also some in [North] America: Vancouver, Arizona, San Francisco. The one in Vancouver (an elaborate totem pole) is still there, as I can see it on Google Maps.
Born and raised in Tasmania, Kris Cush grew up among the vines. Her home, which started as a sheep farm, turned into a vineyard when her father saw an opportunity to produce grapes. ‘My father diversified into grape growing when I was a young girl because the wool prices had dropped. He was the entrepreneurial type,” Kris mentions.
That business decision yielded good results. ‘We had our wines made by a contract winemaker for many years,’ explains Kris, ‘and the Spring Vale pinot noir was a big hit in Melbourne in the ‘90s.’ Kris decided to keep the family tradition alive, attending university to study wine science (oenology).
And while winemaking is part of her heritage, she’s been making it for 23 years, today you can find her happily mixing art and science at City Winery, a stop on our Small Bars of the Valley tour, where she paints art that inspires unique labels for the urban winery’s Gerler collection.
We recently got Kris to share some of her top picks from City Winery this summer, and what inspired the labels you’ll see on the bottles.
What you’ll taste: Perfumed elderflower, quince, strawberries and an abundance of powdery, tannin texture
Pairs well with: Delicious barbecue meats, summer salads, and good company
Why Kris loves it: There is nothing like this on the market. It is a light, dry red wine that can be served slightly chilled and it has the beautiful, perfumed, musky aromas of the Muscat together with the strawberry flavours of the grenache! It’s not an orange wine, it’s a red but it has all the texture that you would expect from an orange wine. It was created by fermenting the already pressed Moscato Giallo skins with grenache. It’s a gem that any diehard orange wine fan will love! Soooo good!
About the label: It’s an abstract painting of the chemical compounds responsible for Muscat’s characteristic aroma.
2020 Gerler Gruner Veltliner
What you’ll taste: Lemon zest, flint, crushed sorrel leaves and lime
Pairs well with: Freshly shucked oysters and sunshine
Why Kris loves it: It’s so refreshing and elegant. I love this variety’s hallmark tingling acidity, and limey, dry finish. We tend to eat a lot of salads and seafood during the warmer months and this wine works so well with citrus salad dressings that are a go-to in our house. It’s our alternative to a dry Riesling.
About the label: Sometimes this wine is known by the nickname “GrüVe” (aka “groovy”). So I thought it was fitting to do a gorgeously, outrageous, groovy chic label.
2020 Gerler Rosé
What you’ll taste: Luscious strawberries and cream balanced with a savoury cranberry finish
Pairs well with: Anything and everything!
Why Kris loves it: It’s my go-to wine. You can’t go wrong taking a bottle of this to any gathering! It’s dangerously smashable with or without food. It’s dry but has so much fruit intensity it feels round and luscious in your mouth. This rosé is made from 40% grenache, 30% merlot and 30% Sangiovese.
About the label: As an artist, I’m constantly taking photos in the winery! During the fermentation process, the surface of the juice/wine swirls and bubbles, creating some beautiful patterns. The pattern on the top of our first rosé ferment resembled a bird — a pretty painting for a pretty wine.
2019 Gerler ‘Fog’
What you’ll taste: Aromas of plums and fruitcake. The palate is rich and structured, yet fresh and soft, with a complex savoury finish
Pairs well with: A cool breeze on a balmy night. It’s the red you want to drink when you don’t want the heaviness that can come with it.
Why Kris loves it: This is the best all-rounder red we have, in my opinion. It keeps the heavy red drinkers satisfied but because of it’s fresh and vibrant acid we find that many white wine drinkers love it too. It’s deliciously slurpable and complex!
About the label: I actually painted this at a stage in life where I was missing the wide open spaces of Tasmania. I’d lie on my back under trees and look up to the sky for senses of peace and optimism. It’s actually an abstract painting originally called Looking Up. It was Dave, my husband, who saw this painting and instantly felt that it summed up this vintage 2019. Ask any winemaker to think about their busiest vintage and they might describe it as ‘a tired, crazy fog’. There’s an intense period where everything needs to happen all at once. Grapes need to be picked, ferments need to be pressed and wines need to be cared for. In this painting, a foggy face of the winemaker can be seen.
2019 Gerler Grenache
What you’ll taste: Perfumed strawberries — fresh, soft, elegant
Pairs well with: A duck breast salad and girlfriends
Why Kris loves it: This delicate wine is just what I crave when I want a red wine that’s not cloying and heavy. I’m a born and bred pinot noir drinker so I love a lighter bodied red. I’ve been saying for years that my favourite variety is pinot noir but with the quality grenache coming out of the McLaren Vale region in South Australia these days, I think it’s a toss-up! This grenache is so elegant and light you’ll have finished the bottle before you know it! Oops.
About the label: Bordering the property where the grenache is grown is a protected area of wetlands, where 5 endangered species of microbat can be found. One of these species is the lesser long-eared bat which is on the label. Microbats are really important from a grower’s perspective as these little dudes can eat up to 1,000 insects a night!
Join us on our Small Bars of the Valley tour to sip some of the wines, and more, this summer.
Allow us to paint a picture…..
You have just arrived at the airport to catch that dreaded 5am flight. You are wearing a full-to-the-brim backpack, a jumper around your waist, and have a coat slung over your arm. In your hand is a half-dead phone and a pair of earphones that keep tangling around the handle of your suitcase, which you are of course pulling at the same time.
As you near the terminal doors, the arm of your backpack slips off your shoulder and, oh dear, as you attempt to pull it up, your neck pillow slips from your other hand and onto the ground. This is the very neck pillow you hoped to bury your face in for the better half of the flight.
If you can sympathise with the image of this poor, unfortunate traveler, please keep reading. Today for the second instalment of our travel tips series, we’d like to list a few of our favourite travel gadgets and products we believe will make flying just a little easier, so that when you arrive you are refreshed, organised and ready to enjoy your holiday!
September each year sees the arrival of not only a welcome spring but of the Brisbane Festival.
This annual international arts festival will be held at various Brisbane locations between 3 – 24 September 2016. Emerging from the popular Warana Festival, first held in 1961, the festival continues to grow in its appeal to locals and visitors from across the world.
There is something for everyone, from Cabaret to Opera, Circus to Film and everything in between. Families are well catered for, and many activities are free.
The three -week long festival will culminate in the spectacular Sunsuper Riverfire fireworks display, all set to music chosen by Brisbanites. A highlight of the display will be an aerobatics display performed by the Australian Defence Force and RAAF Super Hornet and Army helicopter displays. (Availability of ADF equipment and aircraft including Super Hornets and helicopters is subject to operational requirements.)
If you are visiting Brisbane during September, make sure you put aside some time to enjoy the festivities.
When I go travelling, in between walking tours I like to read a novel that’s about the place I’m travelling to. Not a guidebook of sights to see, but a novel, usually a memoir, that gives me a sense of history, or what it’s like to live there.
On recent trips I’ve read ‘Daughter of the Killing Fields’ by Theary Seng (Cambodia), ‘Around Africa on my Bicycle’ by Riann Manse , ‘Chasing the Monsoon: A Modern Pilgrimage through India’ by Alexander Frater and ‘Venice’ by Jan Morris.
So what should you read when in Brisbane?